More than 1,000 people gathered in My Lai today to mark the 40th anniversary of one of the most brutal chapters in the Vietnam War, the AP reports. Forty years ago, American troops entered the small village in search of Vietcong guerrillas and, unprovoked, slaughtered more than 500 people—mostly women, children, and the elderly.
When news of the massacre reached the American public, it greatly undermined support for the war. Today’s memorial drew a mix of war veterans, families of the victims, peace activists, and atomic bomb survivors from Japan. “If hope can rise from the ashes of My Lai, it can rise from anywhere,” says one vet who helped organize the ceremony. (Read more Vietnam stories.)